Rejoice, Houston. The Cougars are again within the Ultimate 4 of the lads’s NCAA Event for the primary time since 1984.
It is an success for Kelvin Sampson, who’s taking his 2d college to the nationwide semifinals, and for the gamers accountable for rebuilding a program that was once as soon as nice within the 1960s and 1980s however fell on arduous instances after the disbanding of the Southwest Convention.
Now for the chilly water. We have no concept how Houston stands as much as the opposite identify contenders. This was once statistically the perfect commute to the Ultimate 4 for any crew because the area expanded to 64. By no means has a crew defeated 4 double-digit seeds on its approach to successful the semifinals.
The street was once No. 15 Cleveland State, No. 10 Rutgers, No. 11 Syracuse and No. 12 Oregon State. The closing of the 4 grew to become out to be a 67-61 win Monday.
It’s not the Cougars’ fault. You play whomever is in entrance of you. They could not keep an eye on losses by way of No. 1 seed Illinois or No. three West Virginia that may have supplied a litmus check for the American Athletic regular-season and match champions.
Sure, 3 of the 4 match fighters had been from the Energy 5, however Oregon State and Rutgers each and every completed in 6th position of their meetings, and Syracuse was once 8th. They were not the highest of the league.
As spectacular as Houston was once towards Oregon State and Syracuse, it is simple to omit the ones video games would possibly now not have took place if the Cougars hadn’t rallied within the ultimate minute towards Rutgers in the second one spherical.
That is all in the back of them.
The problem turns into a lot better Saturday. The Cougars will face No. 1 seed Baylor within the semifinals. It is going to be their hardest check.
Does the straightforward trail imply Houston can not win? After all now not. This can be a crew that has received 28 of its 31 video games. Sadly, a win towards Texas Tech was once the lone marquee recreation in its non-conference time table. The American is a great, however now not nice convention that despatched just one different crew – Wichita State – to the match.
Houston’s strengths do not take an evening off. The Cougars are 2d in scoring protection and primary in field-goal share protection. It is simply now not simple to attain towards them.
Ranked 6th in rebounding margin, they assault misses ferociously, as evidenced by way of their 19 offensive rebounds towards Oregon State. Additionally they out-rebounded the ones 3 Energy 5 fighters by way of a minimum of 9 rebounds.
Houston has the good thing about a go-to superstar in Quentin Grimes, who can raise the crew in crunch time. His go-ahead 3 with simply greater than 3 mins left broke a tie with the Beavers, and the Cougars by no means trailed once more.
Upload to the combo Sampson’s enjoy. He took Oklahoma to the Ultimate 4 in 2002, amongst his 17 match appearances. Baylor hasn’t been there since 1950.
Whilst upsets make the primary and 2d rounds of the tournaments, the general weekend is generally reserved for the most productive groups. That is what we wish to see. Having a look ahead to seeing how the Cougars meet the problem.